Sunday, December 9, 2007

I'm Baaaack!

Wow it's hard too believe that I haven't blogged for about 45 days---- where has the time gone? A few people have mentioned that I get off of my dead a$$ and start writing again. The past week I have been reading Heidi's blog, and it has been very entertaining (at her expense). It will be difficult to top her "Hawaiian Vacation" experience.

Politically Incorrect or Politically Correct?

About 3 weeks ago a newspaper article was published that Santa Claus (in Australia) could no longer use Ho! Ho! Ho! because it was apparently offensive "to the ladies of the night". I really got a kick out of this article. The word "hoe" is slang in America for a prostitute. Now politically correct or not, I can't see how using the word Ho would hurt their feelings. It makes you wonder at times who comes up with this garbage. It is also unlikely that a young child would understand what a "hoe" is. This is just one example of having politically correctness jammed down our collective throats.

In recent years, sports teams have come under fire by the PC cops. Miami University (Ohio), once known as the Redskins are now known as the Redhawks. It seems that the native Americans were not fond of Miami using Redskins as their nickname.

In 2001, The University of Hawaii changed their nickname from the Rainbow Warriors to simply Warriors. The word rainbow was probably dropped because it has a "gay" connotation. For years the Cleveland Indians have been under constant pressure from native Americans to change the team's nickname. Perhaps the likeness of Chief Wahoo is the main reason why the native Americans want the nickname changed.

Prior to 1980 we never even heard of the term Political Correct. Why must the government censor our use of the English language? What ever happened to our freedom of speech? Will it ever end?

Here are some more politically correct terms:

Housewife = Domestic Engineer

Stewardess = Flight Attendant

Waitress/Waiter = Server

Merry Christmas = Seasons Greetings

I could go on and on. What are your favorites?

Always remember the PC police are watching you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No Fun Buying Appliances

This week our clothes dryer went kaput. I called Sears to arrange a repair appointment. After being on hold for an extended period of time, the phone line went dead. Somehow I lost my connection. I then went on the web to and tried to schedule an appointment. The next available appointment was Monday October 8th. We decided that wasn't quick enough for our needs. The broken down dryer is a Maytag that we've had for some 20 years. It has been dependable for all of those years until now. Where is the Maytag repairman when you need him? He's nowhere to be found!

We decided to "look" at dryers at Sears on Monday evening. When Jan says, "Let's look", that pretty much indicates that we're buying. It's like when you tell a child "Maybe", in the eyes of a child that means "Yes". Of course I headed to the least expensive models first. "Hey it says here this one is on sale for $50.00 off". It was a Whirlpool gas dryer. It seemed like a fair price until everything was totaled up. It's an extra $65.00 for a gas versus electric dryer, another $40.00 for the vent kit, $65.00 for delivery and another $10.00 for the disposal of the old unit. That's an additional $180.00 before taxes. Talk about sticker shock! The actual retail price is always much higher than the sticker price.

The last time I bought tires for my car I had the same feeling. After you add up the tire, mounting/balancing, and disposal of the old tires and multiply by 4, the cost becomes unreal.

Well, I'm happy to report that we now have a new dryer. It even has a light inside the drum! It is a lot more efficient than the old Maytag. Hopefully it will be another 20 years before we have to buy another major appliance. Yeah, right!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Remembering CKLW

A few weeks ago I was driving to Michigan to visit my son and daughter-in-law. Since I was travelling solo, I began station surfing on the radio. I was able to receive only three AM stations. WLEC (the local station), WJR in Detroit and CKLW in Windsor. CKLW was carrying the Michigan-Oregon football game so I settled for that offering. I normally listen to music when travelling, however the game sounded exciting and I figured it would help me pass the time. I also wanted to see if Michigan's loss to Apalachian State was a fluke. Oregon went on to upset Michigan. It was apparent that the Wolverines still had a hangover from the previous upset loss. For years WJR carried the Michigan football games. A couple of years ago WJR started broadcasting Michigan State games so Michigan moved to CKLW.
My how times have changed! Growing up in the 60's, CKLW was the staple for teenagers. When you "buzzed" the ave, you had your radio tuned to the Big 8 CKLW. With their 50,000 watts of power, CKLW could be heard clearly far and wide. They played mostly Top 40 records and Motown music. Teenagers were attracted to the Big 8 because they played feel good, sing-a-long type music. Unlike today, CKLW broad casted very few commercials. I can remember a few of the commercials. Detroit Dragway "Drag Capital of Mid America" and Mickey Shores car stereos stick in my head. The commercials always seemed to be entertaining. They also featured short news briefs every 20 minutes. The news briefs usually started out with alliteration such as "A badly burned bruised body was found on the East side of Detroit".
Yes, times have certainly changed. Even FM radio stations play less music. Most stations have changed over to a talk show format. Perhaps that is the reason that satellite radio continues to gain popularity among radio listeners.
Whatever the case, good, free radio is a thing of the past. There never will be another CKLW in our lifetime. We can only have fond memories of the past.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Anonymous Postings

Why do people choose to post comments on blogs without stating who they are? My last entry, Bumper Stickers and Window Clings struck the nerve of one individual. The person chose to "hide behind the curtain" and called me resentful without giving any specific reason why they felt that way. My blog contains my opinions and how I see and feel about everyday events. Resentful? No, not resentful, merely writing how I see things. You don't have to agree with me, but use common courtesy and either state your name or e-mail me with your thoughts. I will not reply to anonymous postings. By the way, I am able to track any/all postings, so I have a pretty good idea who the anonymous posters are. In the future, all anonymous comments will be deleted by the administrator.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bumper Stickers and Window Clings

I've often wondered why people enjoy displaying bumper stickers and window clings on their vehicles. Have you ever given it a thought? Perhaps the people that display these mobile bulletin boards think this is a good way to voice their opinions. I really don't care who you support in the next election or who you voted for in the last election. I also have no interest if you are pro-life or how you feel about the U.S. government or President Bush. Certainly, much can be learned about the type of bumper stickers or window clings an individual chooses too display. Some of the combinations are laughable. Of course if you notice a large number 3 window cling, there will also be number 8 on the opposite side of the window. Unless you live in a cave, you know that the numbers 3 and 8 are synonymous with the late Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr. respectively. They were/are fan favorites in NASCAR auto racing. Dale Jr. will be assigned a different car number next year (since he changed teams). It will be interesting to see how people react to this change. It's a good bet that these people also have a rebel flag somewhere on their vehicle.

Jan and I have 4 adult children. They were usually honor students in elementary school. We always encouraged them to do well in school. One thing Jan and I agreed with was to not display bumper stickers that told the world that "our" kids are honor students. What is the purpose to proclaim that you have intelligent kids? There are plenty of children that have difficulty in school. There never is a need to brag about how well you do in school.

In recent years parodies of the honor student bumper stickers have surfaced. I'm sure you've seen them. My kid beat up your honor roll student etc. Perhaps these were humorous the first time, but after that they became annoying.

The latest fad is the the high school sports window clings. Soccer moms taxi their athletes around town in their mini-vans and SUV's. The back window of the vehicle is wall papered with clings such as soccer balls, softballs, basketballs, megaphones etc. Underneath the graphic is the kids name. Now, let's say you have 3 kids and they play 3 seasons of sports. That equates to 9 window clings. A little of this goes a long way. For crying out loud, who really cares that Tommy plays soccer or Amber plays the flute in the marching band? Just go to the games, cheer for the kids and support them without advertising, please.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why Me?--Again

Nothing much exciting has happened lately at least until this past Thursday evening. We just got home from shopping around 8:30 pm. When we got home, I went to the kitchen and Jan was in the living room. All of the sudden Jan yells, "Somebody just broke our window!" Taken by surprise I ambled to the living room. Jan opened the front door and there was glass everywhere. Some of the glass remained in the storm door window frame. Tempered glass was falling like a dripping faucet. Jan and I looked at each other in disbelief. Jan then called the police so we could file a report. I waited on the porch until the officer arrived. He took out his flashlight and surveyed the broken window. He pointed to an area in what was left of the window. He said, "It looks like somebody shot a pellet or bb at the window." He continued, "Do you see this small hole and irregular break pattern?" I nodded half hearted and replied, "Yeah". I really didn't care how it happened, I was more concerned why it happened. The officer then asked me, "Do any of your neighbors have a vendetta against you?" I thought to myself vendetta? We rarely talk to anybody around the neighborhood and pretty much keep to ourselves. Vendetta was a strong word for a fricking broken window. A vendetta is usually associated with a mobster not some punk vandal. Anyway, I replied, "Not that I'm aware of." The officer then took my name and phone number in case the vandal's were located.

After the cop left, we began the clean up in the dark with the porch light on. Believe me, there is a lot of glass in 3' x 5' window. Jan brought out the kitchen waste basket to the porch where I began loading it up. It wasn't long before the plastic bag inside the basket was full of broken glass. I pulled out the filled heavy bag and put a fresh bag in the basket. I proceeded to carry the full bag to the back of the house. Between the 2 cars in our driveway the bag sprung a leak. It seems that sharp pieces of glass and plastic trash bags don't co-exist very well. Again, glass was all over the driveway. Now it's around 10:15 pm, it's humid and I'm tired. I kick it into second wind and cleaned up the mess.

We've been fairly fortunate living in the "ghetto" over the last 30 years. We've had flower pots stolen from our patio, misdirected bottle rockets puncturing holes in our vinyl siding, and a failed attempt of our gas grill being pilfered---and now this.

Of course I began thinking why this happened. Was this just a random act of stupidity, or someone that really hates our guts? Most of the time, I would have been sitting on the porch--but not this time.

I found out today that our insurance is $250.00 deductible. I have no idea how much the broken window will cost. We're in no hurry too replace the broken window. In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes and ears peeled for the next exciting episode in our wonderful neighborhood.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Multitasking is defined as the ability to perform 2 or more tasks simultaneously. I believe the advent of the personal computer signaled the beginning of multitasking as we know it. In my lifetime, long before the computer was around, I was a multitasker. Although, at the time, multitasking was unheard of. I could watch the television, read the newspaper, eat a sandwich and listen to the radio simultaneously. But that was quite a few years ago. Now I have trouble staying awake just watching the television. I guess as we grow older we lose some brain cells and also the desire to see how much we can do all at once. It could be once you reach a certain age ADD (attention deficit disorder) kicks in.

I have no desire to try and keep up with all the multitasker's of the world. However, multitasking is difficult to avoid in our daily lives. Our jobs now require us to do more than one task. This is due to most company's down sizing. There are simply not enough people to get the job done. You must be a "team player" for your company or you'll be gone in a blink of the eye.

If you look around you will notice people chatting on their cellphones while speeding down the highway. They're probably also listening to the radio, and smoking a cigarette at the same time. How in the heck can they concentrate on driving with all of these distractions taking place? Pull the car off the road if you need to talk on your cellphone for crying out loud.

Certainly, cell phones can be considered as multitasking instruments. A few weeks ago, I stopped into a cell phone store to see what was new. It is virtually impossible to find a phone that is just a phone. They all have text messaging, cameras and are web capable. In fact the newer phones now have GPS. I'm far from being a technological fuddy duddy. All I want is a telephone that works. I don't need all the features (add ons) that cost an arm and a leg that I will rarely use.

I believe multitasking is here to stay, but I don't feel like participating. For sure it raises the blood pressure and stress levels for those who are multitaskers. I've often been told that there are three kinds of people in this world. Those that MAKE things happen, those that WATCH things happen, and finally those that WONDER what happens. I guess I'm content in being one that WATCHES things happen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Update: On De-Fence

Sorry about the delay in posting on this blog, I've been busy supervising the installation of the guard rail. Here is the latest picture of the on going yard improvement.

The guy doing the job will be back on Tuesday to fill the post holes. He had to wait a couple of days while the concrete cured. Jan and I decided not to paint the guard rail. We figured the paint would wear off quickly and would look worse if we did paint it. After all, it is a guard rail for cryin' out loud.

The grass in the yard is a complete disaster at this point. It has become dormant because of the drought we've had this summer. We plan on landscaping the yard after we get the entire fence installed.

I'll keep you all posted on the progress of this project. The next step is the fence installation inside the guard rail.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


This year marks the 30th year that Jan and I have lived in our home on Campbell Street. We have had many changes to our home over all these years. We added vinyl siding, replaced the roof, installed new windows, and replaced several hot water heaters. We also poured a concrete driveway so four vehicles can park next to the house due to very little street parking. One improvement we have put off all these years is the chain link fence that surrounds 75% of our yard. The fence has taken a beating over the past 30 years. It is rusted, the bottom of the fence is curling up and the posts are barely standing. In other words, if the fence was a person it would be on life support. Jan and I have decided to pull the plug and put the fence out of its misery. We came up with a plan that will require 3 phases.

The first phase is the removal of the present fence and bushes along the fence. The next part of phase 1 is installing some 88 feet of guard rail attached to H-beams. This is an expensive but necessary step to protect the vinyl privacy fence that will be installed in Phase 2. You see, our fence is along an alley. Many people have garages down the alley and sometimes garbage trucks use it to pick up trash. The current fence has been beaten, battered, and run into by vehicles many, many times. We figure the best DEFENSE is to install the guardrail and damage people's vehicles rather than our fence. We've had it and can't take it any longer.

Okay, enough of my rant--on to Phase 2. Phase 2 consists of erecting a 6 foot vinyl privacy fence inside the guardrail. I called the City Zoning Board and told them that our house was located on an alley. They told me that if the alley is BEHIND the house that a 6 foot fence is okay, but if the alley is on the SIDE of the house the maximum allowable height is 4 foot. Yeah, right, whatever. Somehow we will get our way on this one. Stay tuned.
The 3rd and final phase is the removal of the rear and south side fence, and installation of the privacy in these areas. In addition, the front fence and gate will also be erected at the front of the driveway.
Both Jan and I are anxious to get this project started (and completed). The enclosed yard will provide a secure area for our dog Sloopy and grandchildren to play for many years to come.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Kind of Town-Chicago Is

We took a mini vacation to Chicago last week and had a wonderful time. This is the third time we have visited Chicago. Our tour guides, Justin and Cassie, put together another terrific tour package for Jan and I. For sure, there is never a shortage of things to do in Chicago. The "Taste of Chicago" food festival was in full swing when we arrived on the 4th of July. The ten day event has been going on annually for the past 28 years. I know this because someone was wearing a tee shirt proclaiming this information. Foods from many of the Chicago area restaurants were represented, serving everything imaginable. When you enter the mile long festival you purchase tickets which you can use at any of the food booths. You get 11 tickets for $7.00. Most of the food cost between 5-8 tickets. You could get a sample of the food item for half of what a full portion cost. This is good if you want to try a taste of say Cajun fried catfish. Justin and Cassie were trying quite a few exotic items. Jan and I on the other hand ate food that we were more familiar with. It was easy to go through a strip of tickets in a heartbeat. We realized that visiting the festival was not an inexpensive experience, but in a big city I guess you expect to pay more for fun. There were stages set up for musical acts that played during the festival. John Mayer did a show as well as Los Lonely Boys to name a couple of the acts.

The weather was perfect. Temperatures in the low 80's and no rain. We were able to walk to most of the places around the downtown Chicago area. By the end of the day our feet and legs throbbed, but it helped us burn the extra calories we consumed during our stay.

We did find a Coffee Beanery in the downtown area. Jan was able to get her "White chocolate mocha skinny" which made her happy. It seems that Starbucks is located on every corner. We made the mistake of stopping there once on the trip. Starbucks coffee tastes nasty compared to the Beanery.

Other highlights of the trip included a visit to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. There was a special display featuring the television show CSI. Participants were invited to "solve" one of three crime scenes. The crime scenes and CSI labs were very realistic. We were able to solve the case. It was educational and also entertaining.

We ate at Portello's Restaurant. Their specialty are Chicago style hot dogs. Yumm!! The hot dogs are Vienna Beef, served on a sesame seed bun, with celery powder, pickle, tomato and peppercini.

We walked to the Navy Pier on the 4th of July evening for a fireworks display. It was a good show, but not very long. Apparently we missed a better show on July 3rd.

We ate at Baba Reeba's, a Spanish style restaurant, that serves tapas.

Justin, Cassie and Jan drank a few pitchers of Sangria. Since I was the only sober one, I was nominated to drive Justin's car back to the hotel. Thank God it was later in the evening so traffic wasn't quite so bad.

We also ate a Chicago style deep dish pizza at a downtown sidewalk restaurant. It was very good and also relaxing. The downtown area is very clean and decorated with a lot of flowers.

We will definitely visit Chicago again, at least if our tour director's will go with us. :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

"I'll take fashions for 100 Alex."

The answer is, " 1950's singer of "Love Letters In The Sand" wore these.
Question: What are white bucks?

The above premise may sound corny, but if you grew up in the 50's you should be able to relate to it. I know, I had of pair of white bucks (white buckskin shoes for the youngsters in the crowd). Pat Boone started a trend with his trademark white bucks. I can remember as if it was yesterday. Actually I wore them way back in May 1959 for my First Communion. I looked and felt snazzy in my navy blue suit, white shirt and tie, and my cool white bucks. I'm not sure if white bucks will ever come back into style, but who knows, they may. I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb when I wore them. I don't recall anyone else wearing them on that holy day, but back then I didn't really care.

Today's fashions are quite different. Teenagers pretty much dress the same. Droopy pants, baggy shirts and reversed baseball caps. Most of the kids blatantly advertise for Aeropostale, Tommy Hilfiger, American Eagle or Nike to name a few. They look like walking billboards. It's a far cry from what it was in the 50's. Our parents dressed us like movie or tv stars. Today's kids dress like pro athletes or rappers. Anything goes. The fashions, today, are overpriced even at 50% clearance sale. People are willing to pay top dollar for name brand clothing. For example, I was walking through Macy's the other night and noticed "Polo" shirts on display. I got "sticker" shock when I noticed they were $75.00. I guess that little insignia of the jockey on the polo pony ups the price considerably. I don't think the shirts will be flying off the shelves at that price. At least not in Sandusky.

Our son, Justin had to have a pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes when he was a young teenager. He said they cost $110.00. Now that's a lot of money even if you're playing in the NBA. We agreed to pay $50.00. He would have to come up with the balance of $60.00 if he wanted them that badly. Somehow, he saved his money and bought the shoes. I suppose he did get his money's worth out of them. Justin, now 31 years old, would probably think twice before spending that much money on athletic shoes today.
On the other side of the coin I was happy with my P.F. Flyers or Red Ball Jets. They use to be called tennis shoes. Not anymore. Models today include cross-trainers, walking, running, basketball, all-terrain etc. etc.

Some other fashions of the 50's included the "Perry Como" sweater, the Harry Belefonte clam diggers (similar to Capri pants), and the predecessor of "scrubs" the Dr. Ben Casey blouse.

I did have a Perry Como sweater. It was a turquoise cardigan sweater with two buttons. Maybe my parents thought by wearing the sweater that I would be able to sing "That's Amore' ". When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore'.

Now back to Jeopardy with Alex Trebeck.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Guy with "Wings"

Hey, I want to let you in on a little secret. Actually it's more of an inside joke between Jan and myself. Whenever I do something that Jan appreciates she says, "Your wings are growing". I take those words to mean that I'm an angel and my wings are growing. At least I hope that's what she means! Heck, maybe she thinks I'm a bird, I dunno. I realize that I have a long way to go to be standing alongside Michael the Archangel. But when she says "Your wings are growing" I get a spring in my step. Remember when you were in kindergarten and the teacher had a chart with all the students names on it? If you did something "good" you were awarded with a gold star next to your name. That's the feeling I get. We all want to be accepted and appreciated, and this is her way of telling me that she appreciates what I have done. I usually don't "grow wings" when I do things that are expected of me. It's when I do unexpected acts that she finds it necessary to award me with my "wings". On the other hand, if I do something "stupid" (at least in her eyes) I get my wings clipped. There is nothing worse than an angel without wings. At least in my eyes anyway.

You see, it is the little things in life that mean the most to us. A kind word, a smile, a compliment all help us feel better about ourselves and the people around us.

I continue to find ways to be awarded wings everyday. I feel much better when I am winged and not wingless. Remember there is nothing worse than an angel without wings.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The "Look"

You're probably thinking to yourself is this another "Seinfeld" episode. The answer is no, although it could be. If you watched Seinfeld you're aware of the episodes all beginning with the word "The". For example, "The Contest", "The Soup Nazi" and "The Low Talker" to name a few. The "Look" that I'm referring to is the glaring glance that parent(s) give their kids when they do something stupid our unacceptable in the eyes of the parent. The "Look" is suppose to put the kid in his place without physical punishment. I'm guessing that The "Look" has been around for ages. I'm sure if the Bible was a picture book instead of a text book you would see Adam (in the Book of Genesis) giving The "Look" to Cain and Abel. Apparently Cain didn't get the message as he whacked Abel. On the other hand Joseph the Carpenter had no need to give his son The"Look". Jesus already knew what Joseph was thinking without making eye contact.
To be fair, The "Look" can be limited in its use. First of all, it's necessary to have eye contact between the parent and the child. Once eye contact is established, The "Look" can be used. However, when the child becomes a teenager The "Look" is no longer effective. Secondly, if there are two parents, generally just one of the parents gives The "Look". Jan was a master of The "Look". She was the one with the short fuse. On the other hand, I had a much longer fuse. Our kids knew when they crossed the line. Nothing, and I mean nothing what get by her. I would merely serve as a cheerleader for her. Like Superman, her eyes could penetrate steel. Once in a while I added my two cents. I was more verbal than Jan. I would say things like "Gees, that's cute!" or "Now what?" The kids knew when my bottom lip protruded that I was at my breaking point, and ready to explode.
When The "Look" didn't work The "Threat" would take over. I remember Grandma saying, "Wait 'til Grandpa comes home, he'll use the razor strap on you." We were too young to even know what a razor strap was way back then. But we did know that it wasn't good. Fortunately, the razor strap never came into play. Who knows if there ever was a razor strap? We often wondered where Grandpa kept the razor strap. Perhaps in a box under his bed.
Today's generation of parents have a much tougher time in disciplining their children. If they spank the kid they could be arrested for child abuse. Heck, let's just have "time-out". Yeah right, that will work. Give me a break.
One thing for certain is that The "Look" will live for generations too come.

Monday, June 4, 2007

What's in your pill case?

A few years ago I began using a pill case to make sure I would take my pills routinely. The only problem is that sometimes I forget to take my pills. I guess that's one of the liabilities as I age. Fortunately, I only have to take my pills only once a day unlike most people who have to take them at meal times or bed time. My pill case has a prominent position on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot. It makes it a little easier to remember since I always have a cup of coffee before I leave the house in the morning. I remember my Dad kept his pills in the china cabinet in the dining room. His pill case was larger and contained more prescription drugs than I have in my case. Mine is about 50% prescription and 50% vitamins. My current pill case however is at capacity. Unless I place the pills in a certain way, it is impossible to close the lid. I suppose I could get a larger pill case, but I like the challenge of trying to figure out the exact way to position the pills so the lid closes. It's like trying to figure out the combination of a Rubik's cube. I won't bore you with the inventory of the prescription drugs I have in my pill case. Let me just say that the drugs are for a depressed, overweight diabetic. I'll let you draw the conclusion.
The other pills that take up residence in the pill case are more for preventative maintenance. I take 81 mg of aspirin a day. From what I've read, aspirin is good for the heart, also I get fewer headaches. Larry King suggested that it's good to take Ester-C. It must be good if Larry prescribes it--right? Actually Ester-C is a complex vitamin C pill. It must work because I rarely get colds anymore. The next pill is Omega 3 Fish Oil. This pill helps your heart and circulation. This is better than eating fish because there's no chance of getting mercury poisoning. I take vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that contributes to cardiovascular, mental and prostate, and may enhance the immune system (at least that's what the label reads). Besides this pill looks like a golden Jelly Belly.
Finally, I take a Mature Complete Multivitamin. This pill contains every vitamin known to man. These are not your ordinary "Flintstone" vitamin. The list is endless. There are 31 different vitamin in this baby including Lycopene.

I'm sure there are some pills that I don't take that I should take. I use to take gingko biloba, but I've given up on that one. It was suppose to help with my memory. I figured at my age what do I have to remember. Unless it creates brain cell growth it's worthless.

Now where is my pill case?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Triple Crown

Last weekend I watched the Belmont Stakes horse race on television. This is the second race in the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is two week prior to the Belmont and the Preakness is three weeks after the Belmont. The Belmont Stakes was a very exciting race. Sixth Sense, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, lost in a photo finish. The announcers of the telecast quickly said, " The Triple Crown draught continues". It has been 29 years since there has been a Triple Crown winner. Affirmed did it way back in 1978. It seems like ancient history, but I still remember when it happened. In fact, in the 70's there were three Triple Crown winners. It's hard to explain why there haven't been more winners. I guess it's a combination of things.

There are other areas of sports where there is a Triple Crown winner. For example, in baseball the player who has the most home runs, the highest batting average, and most runs batted in is awarded the Triple Crown.

The words Triple Crown have a negative connotation when it comes to residents of Sandusky, in particular on the west end of town. You see, the Norfolk and Southern Railway transports "piggy-back" trailers for Triple Crown. Essentially the Tiffin Avenue and Venice Road crossings are blocked off by these slow moving trains. It use to be just coal cars being transported to the coal docks that bottled up traffic. Triple Crown has a staging area located on Old Railroad Street where semi tractor drivers pick up full loads of freight and return empty trailers. When the full loads are being delivered, the train stops so the train can switch rail sidings. This is necessary because usually the train has around 300 cars. Today I was the beneficiary of waiting for one of these slow moving trains. I was driving my truck back to my terminal. I was stopped on Venice Road for over 30 minutes waiting for the Chinese Fire Drill to end. Finally, the train passed and the flashing signal gates slowly ascended. In celebration I honked my horn to signal victory.
Jan, has to cross the Tiffin Ave. tracks on her way to work. Since 1986 she has mentioned how she has had to wait for the train. There have been times when she had to back track and go out Route 4 (Hayes Ave.) to the Route 6 by-pass to the Route 101 exit so she could get to work on time.
Over the past ten years or so, there have been discussions of building an overpass on Venice Road. The overpass on Rt. 250 (Milan Road) was built over 30 years ago. Cedar Point played an important role in getting that overpass built so traffic into the park would move at a steady pace. You can bet if Cedar Point was located on the west end of Sandusky there would have been an overpass built many years ago as well.
Well enough of my griping. Hopefully in the near future an overpass will be built. In the meantime, when I'm stopped by a Triple Crown train I'll take a couple deep breaths and try to remain calm. After all, we've already been where we're going.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

HGTV and Others

I often wonder how many people watch home improvement programs on television. Jan has become addicted to shows such as Extreme Makeover and anything else that airs on HGTV. I believe her addiction started about 3 years ago. It was Christmas and she bought ME a Tivo as a present. Little did I know at the time that eventually she would be the keeper of the Tivo remote controls. Anything even resembling a home improvement program is recorded on the Tivo. This enables Jan to view home makeover programs 24/7.
A lot of these shows aren't very realistic. I've watched a few of them and find it hard to believe that the cost to redo a kitchen can run as much as $40,000! That's almost twice as much as we paid for our home. Most of the homes that are shown cost well over $1,000,000. For crying out loud! Who can afford the house payment for a million dollar home?
I'm completely happy in our home. Heck, as long as I have a shelter over my head and heat to keep me warm I'm satisfied. On the other hand, Jan can always think of some type of improvement for our home. There are two factors that I'm against when it comes to any home improvement. The first is cost. How much will it cost us? Will we have to take out a home loan? If we decide to sell, will we get our money back that was invested? The other factor concerns ME. I know when Jan gets a brainstorm from watching HGTV that it will include me. She'll test me by throwing out little hints. Normally I can sense that she's about to drop a bomb on me. I rarely have ideas on home improvement. I'm beginning to believe that God put women on earth for one thing; that is to decorate the home. In order to keep peace in our home, I usually will agree to fulfill her home makeover dreams. I'm not the handiest guy when it comes to fixing up the home. I don't mind painting and sprucing up the place, but forget about carpentry, electrical or plumbing work. I'll leave that to the professionals.
Now maybe if I can pry Jan's hands from the Tivo remote control, I can watch the 5 CSI's that I've recorded. Well maybe I can if she doesn't have another home improvement project for me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Remember Esmond Dairy Day

Cedar Point opens this Saturday and I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane. This weekend marks the beginning of traffic pattern changes for the local residents. Taking the back way into The Sandusky Mall and avoiding restaurants on State Route 250.

Anyone living in the Sandusky area around 50 years ago know what I'm referring to when I mention Esmond Dairy Day. Esmond Dairy was a local business that sponsored a day at Cedar Point. As far as I remember, opening day was the Saturday preceding Memorial Day. I think my brother Kyle believed that it was opening day because his birthday is May 28th. I Googled Esmond Dairy Day the other day to see if there was any information that I could use in this column, but found nothing. I thought by jogging my memory I could paint a clearer picture of what Esmond Dairy Day meant to families of the surrounding local Sandusky area. Nothing doing! I guess I'll have to rely on how I saw this special day in my life.
For sure, back in the 50's things moved at a much slower pace. Esmond Dairy Day always marked the beginning of the summer season. Cedar Point was open Memorial Day-Labor Day as the ferryboat sign proclaimed. None of this Hallow Weekends stuff. There was no Frontier Town, very few "thrill" rides, and no two hour wait to ride the rides.
We packed a picnic lunch and loaded up the car. Mom would usually make her famous ground meat or egg salad sandwiches. We also had a cooler filled with soda pop. As we entered the park, the kids were told, "If you get lost go to the merry-go-round (carousel)." That was always the designated spot to meet. As far as I know, none of the kids ever got lost. However, I often wondered if other families used the merry-go-round as a lost and found for their kids. Mom and Dad would purchase reduced ride tickets at the ticket booth. They were the keeper of the tickets. Unlike today, many of the rides could be ridden as a family as I don't remember any height constraints placed on the rides. The parents joined the kids on such rides as The Bug, The Octopus and The Tilt-A-Whirl. There were no long lines and each ride lasted at least three minutes.
We would stay at the Point into the evening hours so we could see the rides lit up with multicolored lights. The food stands all had the yellow bug lights so the bugs wouldn't annoy the customers.
By the time we went home, we were completely exhausted. We all had a great time and looked forward to returning to Cedar Point the following summer.
Oh life was so much more fun in simpler times.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Restaurant Pet Peeves

Is there anyone here that have pet peeves when you eat at a restaurant? While going out use to be an enjoyable experience, lately for us the experience has been anything but enjoyable. It begins as you enter the establishment. Generally, there is a hostess who greets you and asks how many are in your party. This however isn't always the case. Many times the hostess is A.W.O.L., from her work station. You wonder to yourself is she on break or shooting the breeze with a customer or a fellow worker. Finally she saunters up to you and says, "Sorry about the wait." This statement seems to be a requirement for anybody that works in a restaurant. If you can utter these famous four words, you get the job. Jan and I usually look at each other as if to say "Here we go again." The hostess takes our name even though we can see that only about half of the tables are occupied. Of course the restaurant is understaffed tonight. Three of the waitresses have called off sick. You just assume that's what the problem is anyway. You notice that the one waitress that did show up is running around like a chicken with her head cut-off. Once we do get a seat, the waitress passes us and says, "I'll be right with you." After we both memorize the menu, we still wait for the waitress to show up. She staggers up to our table as if she just ran a marathon race and says, "Sorry about the wait." Unbelievable! It's 7:30 pm for crying out loud. We order our food in hopes that it arrives before we fall asleep or our butts become numb. While we're waiting for our food we notice a young couple trying to reason with a crying/screaming toddler sitting in a high chair. How can you reason with a toddler? Our children always knew what the consequences were when they became unruly in a public place. A quick trip to the restroom always resulted in an instant attitude change for the youngster.
Yippee! Our food just arrived. It looks like we ordered, great. The waitress says, "Is there anything else I can get for you?" I respond, "I could use a refill on my water." The waitress nods and leaves us. Moments later she comes back to the table and says, "How's the food tasting tonight?" We reply in unison, "Great". I then remind her that she forgot my water. She leaves us and promptly returns to our table with a pitcher of water. Finally. I'm the type of person that cannot eat without a drink. Maybe the next time I should bring a canteen or my own bottled water.
Half way through the meal the waitress stops at our table and says, "I'll leave the check here for your convenience, but I will stop back to see how you are doing." Believe me, this is the last time you'll see your waitress. She is overworked, underpaid, and tired. Even though the service stunk you become compassionate for the waitress. You now have a full stomach and are finally contented. You feel like leaving less than a 15% tip or even nothing. Oh Hell--15% is okay with me. Maybe the next time we eat out it will be a more pleasant experience, but I won't count on it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Who's the Better Doctor?

A few weeks ago I had an eye Doctor appointment at The Parshauer Eye Clinic. Being that it's been a couple of years since I was at the Clinic, I had to update my profile. The receptionist indicated that I should go ahead and sit in the main waiting area while I filled out the necessary forms. I filled out the forms and waited for my name to be called. As luck would have it, an elderly gentleman sat across from me. He said to me, "What Doctor are you seeing?" I replied, "I'm not sure, I'm just getting an eye exam". He said, "There's Dr. John, Dr. Ken, and some other Doctors." He continued, "Dr. John is the best." I then nodded my head and smiled at him. I really didn't want to continue the conversation with this old fellow so I closed my eyes and pretended that I was sleeping. I began to wonder what he meant by "Dr. John is the best." Did he graduate at the top of his class? Is he nice? Does he charge less?
I do know that when I set up the appointment that I had no consideration as to which Doctor that would perform the eye exam. Dr. John's son was a friend of my son in high school. They both played on the soccer team.
Finally my name was called. I continued the charade. I stood up, stretched and followed the nurse into the exam room. She asked me some questions and performed some preliminary tests. After she was finished she said, "Dr. Parshauer will be seeing you shortly." Now my mind went into overdrive. I should have asked right then and there, "Dr. John or Dr. Ken?" But no I had to continue my suspense. I know I wanted the "best" Doctor that's for sure. For years I've be going to Doctors appointments and never requested the "best" Doctor. What's wrong with me for crying out loud.
My doubts and fears subsided when Dr. John came into the room. He said, "Hi Mark, how are you?" I replied with a smile, "Great, it's good to see you." He said, "Good to see you too." I'm sure glad that he couldn't read my mind. I felt relieved that I got the "best" Doctor.
Everything checked out okay. The bill for this eye exam totaled $197.00 which I had to pay only $10.00. I was wondering as I left the office how much it would have cost if Dr. Ken or one of the other Doctors performed the tests. Oh well, time to go home and take a nap--and remember always settle for the "best".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


When was the last time you bought a souvenir for someone that didn't make the trip with you? You're probably finding it difficult remembering what you bought and who received the item.

From the definition of souvenir reads like this:

A souvenir (from French, for memory) is an object a traveler brings home for the memories associated with it. Souvenirs include clothing such as T-shirts or hats, and household items such as mugs and bowls, ashtrays, egg timers, spoons and notepads.

My definition of souvenir is a piece of junk that is over priced, manufactured in a third world country, and usually breaks before you get it home.

About a month ago, a lady in the office where I worked traveled to Hawaii. She was thoughtful by giving all the employees a souvenir of her trip. Each of us received a key chain shaped like a Hawaiian shirt encased in plastic. Now I don't know about you, but for me you never have enough key chains. Chances are that I'll never use this key chain though. It is hanging on the key rack in the kitchen. Like most souvenirs, it's something I could live without.

It's been quite a few years since we visited Disney world in Orlando. I still recall many of the families walking around the theme park with Mickey/Minnie Mouse hats on their heads. If you were lucky, you had your name monogrammed on the backside of the hat. It is safe to say that after you left Disney World you would no longer be wearing your mouse ears. You would look like a royal dweeb if you went to school wearing your hat. Even bragging about getting a Mickey Mouse hat would cause your friends to snicker.

In my own life, I can recall two instances where I was the recipient of a souvenir. My younger brother and I convinced our parents that we wanted tom-toms during our vacation trip to Niagara Falls. After badgering our parents until they caved, we both were granted our wish of getting tom-toms as souvenirs. The tom-toms seemed to be made with used coffee cans and stretchy rubber on either end. The rubber was probably from a car tire inner tube. We really didn't care how they were made. The only thing we cared about was the sound of our dueling tom-toms. I'm sure we caused many headaches on the way home, but both my brother and I had smiles on our faces.

The other occurrence was a train trip to Cleveland. My two Aunts took my cousin and I to see Gene Autry and his horse. My cousin and I dressed like cowboys for this event. We coaxed our Aunts into buying us rifles that shot out a piece of cork when you pulled the trigger. The cork was affixed to the barrel of the gun with a long string. Needless to say, we terrorized many people on the long train ride home.

Yes, souvenirs do create vivid memories of our younger years. But on the other hand so do photographs. So the next time you take a trip remember to take your camera and forget the souvenirs.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet

Welcome back for yet another of my incessant ramblings. Also thank you for the kind words of encouragement. This is great therapy for me. I sincerely hope you enjoy my attempt to add humor to your lives.

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet. This phrase entered our lives back in the mid 70's, 1975 to be exact. It was a marketing program that Chevrolet conjured up to stimulate automobile sales. At the time, it was a very successful ad program. The advertisement had America written all over it without mentioning the word America. People were able to identify themselves with the wholesomeness of these American traits. In recent years, Chevrolet once again resurrected this ad campaign. Hell, they figured it worked once, why won't it work again?
It is difficult to swallow the second time around. Chevrolet simply did not do their homework. To put it more bluntly they forgot to mention that Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet are no longer vital in most Americans lives.

Baseball is no longer "America's Pastime". I'm not so sure when baseball lost all of it's luster, but other sports like football, auto racing (Nascar) and extreme sports are followed by Americans in droves. Youngsters are more apt to have a pick up game of soccer than a pick up game of baseball. Less equipment and more action help to add to their decisions. Yes, I still watch baseball games on television, but it has been several years since I've attended a ball game in person. The thought of spending allot of money for 3 hours of enjoyment just doesn't appeal to me anymore. Also the mega salaries that today's players command adds resentment to the average American worker.

Hot Dogs are also over valued. The nutritional value is almost nil. The only time a hot dog appeals to me is when I am attending a ballgame, which as I mentioned before, doesn't happen much anymore. An occasional hot dog on the grill taste good. When was the last time you stopped somewhere to eat a hot dog? You probably had to think long and hard to answer that question. Pizza, tacos, and chicken nuggets would be an adequate replacement for a hot dog.

Ah, Apple Pie. I'll have mine with ice cream on the side please. Unless it's homemade from scratch fogittaboutit. None of this frozen junk sold in grocery stores for me. It must be fresh cut apples (not apples out of a can) and flaky crust (not soggy or freezer burned). It must be just like Mom makes. No flavor enhancers or preservatives for me. Gees, Jello might be a good replacement. At least there's "Always room for Jello".

"See the USA in your Chevrolet". That slogan actually meant something in the 20th century. In fact a few months ago, Oprah and her friend Gayle travelled the USA in their Chevrolet. What a promo for Chevy! But not really very realistic. Maybe if they were chauffeured in a stretch limousine it would be more believable. One doesn't have to read the press clippings or watch the news to realize that Chevrolet continues to lose market share in the United States. It is really noticeable when you travel to Columbus. Anything "foreign" is seen in Columbus. In particular Honda, which has a assembly plant in Marysville.
To add insult to injury, Toyota is now represented in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. How many hillbilly's drive Toyota's for cryin' out loud?

Perhaps Chevy should stick to their"Like a Rock" campaign. At least it's more apropos than Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

You Never Have Enough Toilet Paper

Have you ever run out of toilet paper? My wife Jan is a toilet paper addict. I know as humans, we all have certain addictions but to be a toilet paper addict takes the cake. I believe this obsession took hold many years ago. Jan and I were sitting on the front porch and a young neighborhood girl strolled up to us with an empty toilet paper roll (the cardboard holder). The young girl said, "Hello, can I borrow some toilet paper, we ran out?" Jan and I looked at each other in disbelief. I've often heard of neighbors borrowing a cup of sugar or flour, but never toilet paper. The little girl's mother was probably sitting on the throne saying, "Will somebody get me some toilet paper?" The youngster then took action.
I can't remember if we did give the girl some toilet paper. I hope so, because her mother could still be waiting for it. From that point on, Jan always made sure we had enough tp in our house.
Last weekend we shopped at Wal-Mart. Just before we were ready to check out our purchases I said to Jan, "Is there anything else we need? Jan replied "We could use some toilet paper" I said " You've got to be kidding me!" Jan never buys just one pack of tp, but fills up the entire shopping cart. Nothing but the best too. Charmin Ultra. I'm beginning to think she is somehow related to Mr. Whipple. Gees, I know our basement is stockpiled with packages of tp. I relent and say "Okay, filler-up".
When we got home I checked out the inventory of tp. I counted 156 rolls. Yikes. I said," Jan we have 156 rolls of toilet paper, how many rolls do we use in a week?" She said, "Around 3 rolls a week." I quickly calculated 156 rolls divided by 3 gives us 52 weeks of toilet paper. I'm sure not too many people horde this much toilet paper. Jan said, " I know, but you never have enough toilet paper".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


This past weekend we decided (at the last moment) to see Dan May in concert at the Maumee Indoor Theater in Maumee , Ohio. Heidi, Jan and myself left early and stopped at the Franklin Park Mall. Heidi was looking for a dress for weddings she will be attending this summer. She was successful in finding the perfect dress that she had in mind. I won't go in to describing the dress, but Heidi felt thrilled about her choice.

After we had our dinner at the mall food court, we headed to the show. Of course the weather was typical spring weather in Ohio-- windy, cold and snowy. The parking lot was in the back of the theater and by the time we entered the main lobby of the theater we were cold and covered with snow. We arrived well before the 7:30 pm start time and were able to check out the people as they arrived. Brother Brad and wife Therese from Ann Arbor (boo) were there.
Also saw Sister Julie and Ed Opfer, nephew Jared, nephew Bryce and a cast of others.

The show started about 15 minutes late with Shane Piasecki, a singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist who is a native of Toledo. He was accompanied by a bearded violinist from Romania. They were very entertaining and sounded good together. Shane sang around 7 songs, 6 originals and 1 cover song-- Eric Clapton's Lay Down Sally. Although Shane is no Eric Clapton (and who is?) the arrangement worked very well.

After a 10 minute break (actually around 20 minutes), Dan May took the stage. My son-in-law David Henry (Heidi's husband) served as the percussionist for Dan. David also played with Dan May when he was in Sandusky at Cabana Jacks. We were very proud of David. He did a terrific job and added that little extra flavor to the performance.

Dan sang almost his entire repertoire. His third CD has just been released, it is entitled Fate Said Never Mind. It was an excellent show and certainly very entertaining.
After the show we attended the after show party in the basement of the theater. Heidi decided to wait for David and rode home with him. I started thinking to myself, I know we're going to get lost on the way home without Heidi. Oh well-- Jan and I trekked to the car in a blinding snowstorm. This is April 14 for crying out loud. There goes the theory on global warming. Tell that to Mother Nature.
We leave the parking lot and come to the stoplight. A sign above the traffic light indicates "NO LEFT TURN". So we made a right turn then turned around to head in the proper direction. Waiting in the left turn lane at the next traffic light visibility was almost non-existent. The light changed to green and I proceeded to make the left turn gingerly. I didn't realize at the time that there was a concrete median in the center of the road (actually I couldn't see it). Of course we're on the left side of the median and not the right side. Holy Sh*t! Now what do we do? All I could envision at the time was the scene from the movie Trains, Plains and Automobiles where Del and Neal are driving against the traffic instead of with the traffic. We were lucky however; there weren't any semi tractors coming our way. Whew! Dodged another bullet---no traffic. I then did a quick U-ie, went back through the traffic light and turned around once again.
Now at least we're headed in the right direction. We began looking for Turnpike signs. Darn it! I know we saw them coming into town. Where are they? Who stole them? Do they exist? Where in the heck is Heidi when we need her? After what seemed to be hours, and several more incorrect turns, we saw the turnpike signs. Alleluia! Rejoice! Like an oasis in the desert we finally are headed home.
Once we got into the driveway I felt like kissing the ground. We finally made it home in one piece. Yet another fun but unnerving chapter in our exciting travels.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Purpose of My Blog

Most people have a tendency to analyze what happens in our everyday lives. We become so wrapped up in our jobs, our families and our finances that we become immune and have very little levity in our lives. The purpose of my blog is to comment on observations that I make on a daily basis and make fun of the way people react to certain situations and circumstances.